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SOUTHERN INDIA & SRI LANKA

Friday 16th November - Wednesday 12th December 2018

DAVE FARROW

The magnificent Spot-bellied Eagle Owl (image by tour participant Alec Gillespie)

The magnificent Spot-bellied Eagle Owl (image by tour participant Alec Gillespie)

This years’ tour to Southern India and Sri Lanka was once again a very successful and enjoyable affair. A heady brew of wonderful birdlife was seen, rich in endemics, beginning with our extension to the Andaman Islands where we were able to find 20 of the 21 endemics in just three and a half days, with Andaman Masked Owl, Andaman Scops and Walden’s Scops Owls, Andaman and Hume’s Hawk Owls leading the way, Andaman Cuckoo Dove, great looks at Andaman Crake, plus all the others with the title ‘Andaman’ (with the fairly predictable exception of the Woodpigeon!) and a rich suite of other birds such as Long-tailed Parakeets and Mangrove Whistler. In Southern India we birded our way from the Nilgiri Hills to the lowland forest of Kerala finding Painted and Jungle Bush Quails, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Malabar Flameback, Malabar Trogons, Malabar Barbet, Blue-winged Parakeet, Grey-fronted Green Pigeons, Nilgiri Woodpigeon, Indian Pitta, Jerdon's Bushlarks, Malabar Larks, Malabar Woodshrike and Malabar Whistling Thrush, Black-headed Cuckooshrike, Black-and-Orange, Nilgiri, Brown-breasted and Rusty-tailed Flycatchers, Nilgiri and White-bellied Blue Robin, Wynaad, Nilgiri and Palani Laughingthrushes, Dark-fronted Babblers, Indian Rufous Babblers, Western Crowned Warbler, Indian Yellow Tit, Indian Blackbird, Hill Swallow, Nilgiri Pipit, White-bellied Minivet, the scarce Yellow-throated and Grey-headed Bulbuls, Flame-throated and Yellow-browed Bulbuls, Nilgiri Flowerpecker, Loten's Sunbird and the stunning endemic White-bellied Treepie. We also found Sri Lanka Bay Owl, a mighty Spot-bellied Eagle Owl, Brown and Mottled Wood Owls, Oriental Scops Owl and Brown Hawk Owls, Sri Lanka Frogmouths, Jungle and Jerdon’s Nightjar. Skipping across the straits to Sri Lanka we had a splendid time finding all of the endemics, highlights being Serendib Scops Owl at roost, Crimson-backed and the recently-split Red-backed Flameback, Green-billed Coucals, Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Sri Lanka Woodpigeons, Brown-capped Babbler, Spot-winged Ground Thrush, Ashy-headed Laughingthrushes, Red-faced Malkohas and Sri Lanka Scimitar Babblers, the super stealthy Sri Lanka Scaly Thrush, Sri Lanka Blue Magpies, the

scarce White-faced Starling, Yellow-eared Bulbul, and a great encounter with a male Sri Lanka

Whistling Thrush. We also saw Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Yellow-wattled Lapwings, Small Pratincoles,

Great Thick-knees, Malabar Pied Hornbills, Grey-bellied and Jacobin Cuckoo, Blue-faced and Sirkeer

Malkohas, Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, Jerdon's Leafbird, Kashmir Flycatcher, Jungle Prinia,

Blyth's Pipits, Forest Wagtails, Black-throated Munias, and the nightbird theme continued with Sri

Lanka Frogmouths at roost and Indian Nightjar, Jungle Owlet and the endemic Chestnut-backed

Owlet, Indian Scops Owls, Brown Fish Owl and Brown Wood Owl, in fact there were so many Owls

on this tour (and almost all seen by day) that we ended up with an incredible 41 individual Owls of

18 species! Overall we recorded 392 species of birds.